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US Books Received- 11/2010  Next Month / Last Month
In order to provide timely reviews, we prefer to receive Advance Reader Copies of books when possible. Send books to Gayle Surrette / Editor c/o Gumshoe 16440 Baden Westwood Road Brandywine, MD 20613

AmazonEncore

Final Price by J. Gregory Smith (AmazonEncore 02 November 2010 / $14.95) - Product Description: Wilmington, Delaware is one of those cities that feels more like a small town. Neighbors know one another, and businesses cater to the needs of the citizenry. But what happens when the local car salesman suffers one lost sale too many, when one more customer decides to buy from the competition because the price is too high, interest rates aren't friendly, or that shade of blue just won't work? In J. Gregory Smith's electrifying thriller, Final Price, Shamus Ryan's frustration works like a thorn under his skin until psychotic urges take over and he commits murder—serial murders, in fact—his victims chosen from prospective clients who dared to walk away. With Smith's chilling scenes of massacre, readers are pulled into the vortex of a warped mind, one man justifying heinous acts, and two detectives running a race against time, trying to solve seemingly random killings. Paul Chang, a Chinese-American homicide detective, is struggling to understand why these murders are taking place. Assisted by his neurotic partner, Nelson Rogers, Chang goes after the killer with logic, tenacity, and no small measure of fear.

Written from the perspectives of Detective Chang and Shamus Ryan, readers quickly find themselves seeing the world in unique—and often disturbing—ways they never expected. With dark humor and gritty suspense, Smith has crafted a refreshing and surprising thriller.

(Source: AmazonEncore)

The Grove by John Rector (AmazonEncore 02 November 2010 / $14.95) - Product Description: In this gritty noir novel, John Rector weaves an intensely sinister tale. Dexter McCray is a farmer with a dark past that continues to haunt him. As a man struggling with alcoholism, he's used to being looked at with pity and suspicion in his community. So, after waking from a blackout to discover the body of a teenage girl in the nearby cottonwood grove, he can't be entirely sure he's innocent. With no memory of the previous night, he sees no choice but to investigate the crime himself. Fortunately he's not alone. He has some help…in the shape of the dead girl herself. In The Grove, readers are treated to more than a warped and imaginative mystery. With plot twists on every page, Rector breathes life into a story that pits reality against hallucination, truth against improbability. Is Dexter motivated by guilt or insanity, reason or folly? And how will the young victim provide the help he desperately needs? This is a novel about one man haunted by the reality of his failed life. (Source: AmazonEncore)

Avon

Merry, Merry Ghost (Bailey Ruth Mysteries) by Carolyn Hart (Avon 01 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: Being dead can't put a damper on spirited, holiday-loving Bailey Ruth Raeburn. Christmas is a time for family and giving, and a wealthy woman in Adelaide, Oklahoma, is about to embrace both. Discovering that she has a young grandson, the dowager decides to change her will to leave the bulk of her fortune to the young boy—an alteration that stuns the rest of her family. But a scrooge of a determined heir makes sure she never signs the new document. When she is found dead, it's up to that irrepressible spirit Bailey Ruth—on assignment from Wiggins and Heaven's Department of Good Intentions—to protect a little boy, foil a murderer, and save Christmas.

There's only one teeny hitch: how can Bailey Ruth figure out which family member was desperate enough to kill when everyone has a motive?

[Editor's NOTE: Read Sherry Lilley's review of Merry, Merry Ghost from our February 2010 issue.] (Source: Avon)

The Body in the Sleigh: A Faith Fairchild Mystery by Katherine Hall Page (Avon 01 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: All the Fairchilds are spending the Christmas holidays on idyllic Sanpere Island. While the Reverend Thomas Fairchild recuperates from surgery, his caterer wife, Faith, rejoices in the rare family-time together. But Faith's high spirits are dampened when she discovers the body of a young woman in an antique sleigh in front of the Historical Society. The victim, a teenage drug addict, was beloved by many—and her untimely death rocks the tight-knit island community.

Meanwhile, local spinster Mary Bethany finds a newborn baby boy in her barn on Christmas Eve, along with a note left in the basket and an alarming amount of cash. As Faith tries to locate the child's mother, she realizes his abandonment may be connected to the dead teen's last days—and that, like death and life on Sanpere, evil and redemptive goodness are also intertwined.

(Source: Avon)

Berkley

Double Knit Murders by Maggie Sefton (Berkley 02 November 2010 / $15.00) - Product Description: The first two books in the national bestselling Knitting mysteries- Knit One, Kill Two and Needled to Death.

In Knit One, Kill Two, Kelly Flynn returns to Colorado for her aunt's funeral only to suspect that the woman's death was not an accident. With the help of the knitting regulars at House of Lambspun, Kelly's about to get a few lessons in creating a sumptuously colored scarf-and in luring a killer out of hiding. In Needled to Death, Kelly visits her friend Vickie's alpaca farm, and finds her splayed out on her original hand-woven rug, blood seeping into the design. Kelly can't resist investigating-even if it means taking a break from the sweater she's been knitting in the round. (Source: Berkley)

Mistletoe and Mayhem (A Special Pennyfoot Hotel Myst) by Kate Kingsbury (Berkley 02 November 2010 / $14.00) - Product Description: As friends, family, and guests gather at the Pennyfoot Hotel to share the joys of the season, Cecily Sinclair Baxter and her staff are hustling and bustling more than ever. Cecily's friend Madeline arrives with her new baby and adds a kissing bough to the decorations. Cecily believes that the holiday couldn't get off to a better start...

But after a footman and a new maid are seen kissing under the bough and then turn up dead afterwards, the downstairs staff is convinced a serial killer is among them...perhaps the mysterious guest known only as J. Mortimer. When Madeline's baby disappears, Cecily desperately tries to find the child. If she doesn't catch this killer in time, everyone's cheer will quickly turn to fear. (Source: Berkley)

You Better Knot Die (A Crochet Mystery) by Betty Hechtman (Berkley 02 November 2010 / $24.95) - Product Description: Her crochet group, The Tarzana Hookers, is working overtime for the holidays-but Molly Pink is having trouble finding time to crochet so much as a snowflake. The bookstore where she works is adding a yarn department, and planning a huge launch party where the mysterious author of a popular series will reveal his or her true identity.

But before the author appears, another person disappears. The husband of Molly's neighbor is missing. When a suicide note arrives, it appears the husband has jumped off the Catalina Ferry- but Molly smells something fishy. Despite the protestations of her detective boyfriend, Molly's soon hooked on unraveling another mystery. She better watch out-or her sleuthing may get her on someone's naughty list... (Source: Berkley)

Five Star

The Blue Hackle: A Jean Fairbairn/Alasdair Cameron Mystery by Lillian Stewart Carl (Five Star November 17, 2010 / $25.95) - Description: Alasdair Cameron and Fergus MacDonald were childhood friends. Their fathers' caps carried a blue hackle, the badge-feather of a distinguished Scottish regiment. Now the feather in Fergie's cap is the decaying Dunasheen Estate on the Isle of Skye. His desperate schemes to save his home depend on a collection of historic artifacts, a handful of paying guests expecting a traditional Scottish New Year celebration, and the help of Alasdair and Jean Fairbairn.

For Jean and Alasdair, the bells of the new year are also wedding bells--their rings are ready, their guests are invited, and the Gothic folly of Fergie's chapel is waiting.

Then a guest is found murdered, lying in blood that's thicker than the sea that carried generations of Scots to distant shores even as their descendants' hearts turned homeward.

The police crash the party, and Alasdair and Jean find themselves juggling knowledge, belief, and a list of suspects whose secret agendas raise more than a few hackles. (see review)

The Last Matryoshka by Joyce Yarrow (Five Star 17 November 2010 / $25.95) - Book Description: Roped into helping her socially inept‚ émigré stepfather‚ Nikolai‚ escape the clutches of a blackmailer‚ Jo must enter a world where criminals enforce a 19th-century code of honor‚ threats arrive inside not-so-traditional Matryoshka (nesting) dolls‚ and fashion models adorn themselves with lewd prison tattoos. And even as she helps Nikolai — who claims to have been framed — to evade the police‚ Jo can’t help wondering if her client is as innocent as he claims. (see review)

Forge Books

Disciple of the Dog by R. Scott Bakker (Forge Books 23 November 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: A crime thriller from an acclaimed master of speculative fiction.
"And you wonder why I'm cynical. I've literally 'seen it all before.' The truth is we all have, every single one of us past the age of, say, twenty-five. The only difference is that I remember."

No matter how hard he drinks, gambles, or womanizes, Disciple Manning simply cannot forget: not a word spoken, not an image glimpsed, not a pain suffered. Disciple Manning has total recall. Whatever he hears, he can remember with 100% accuracy. He can play it back in his head for an infinite number of times without a single change. This ability makes him a dangerously unorthodox private investigator.

When a New Jersey couple hires Manning to find their daughter, who joined a religious cult before vanishing in a small rust-belt town called Ruddick, he finds himself embroiled in a mystery that will pit his unnatural ability to remember against his desperate desire to forget.

(see review)

Face of Betrayal (Triple Threat Series #1) by Lis Wiehl with April Henry (Forge Books 02 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: While home on Christmas break, a seventeen-year-old Senate page takes her dog out for a walk and never returns.

Reporter Cassidy Shaw is the first to break the story. The resulting media firestorm quickly ensnares Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges. These three unique women, life-long friends, call themselves The Triple Threat--a nickname derived from both their favorite dessert and their uncanny ability to crack cases using their three positions of power.

At first, the authorities think Katie might have been kidnapped or run away, but those theories shatter when Nicole uncovers Katie's blog. Posts reveal a girl troubled by a mysterious relationship with an older man . . . possibly a U.S. Senator.

There are many faces of betrayal, but they must find one face in a crowd of growing suspects before they become the next victims.

(Source: Forge Books)

Harper

Absolute Risk by Steven Gore (Harper 01 November 2010 / $9.99) - Product Description: Days after failing to arrive for a secret meeting with the Federal Reserve chairman, FBI agent Michael Hennessy's body is found at the base of a cliff. But was it suicide or murder? A call from the chairman sends Gage hunting for the truth.

As a desperately ill U.S. president prepares to hand over power to his vice president—a man in the thrall of religious extremists—Gage follows a trail of deceit and terror to a conspiracy that threatens to plummet the world into chaos. But for Gage, there is even more at stake. His wife is trapped between an uprising in Central China and the ruthless Chinese government. And unless Gage exposes the greatest treachery of our age before the clock counts down, Faith will die.

(Source: Harper)

Dead Even by Brad Meltzer (Harper 01 November 2010 / $9.99) - Product Description: Lawyer Sara Tate is in danger of losing her new job with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office if she doesn't get noticed fast. Smart and tough—a fighter who makes things happen—she grabs a high-profile burglary case that could make her career. There are two problems: Sara's husband, Jared, is the attorney for the defense...and she's been warned that if she does not get a conviction, Jared will be killed. What she doesn't know is that her husband has received a similar threat. Unless his client walks, Sara's life is over.

Unaware of the stakes on the other side and forced to keep their secrets from each other, husband and wife become bitter adversaries, locked in a vicious head-to-head battle in the courtroom and at home. And there can be no victor in this struggle. No matter who wins . . . someone dies.

(Source: Harper)

Midnight Fugue (Dalziel and Pascoe) by Reginald Hill (Harper 01 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: Still recovering from a near-fatal bomb blast, Superintendent Andy Dalziel is eager to get back up to speed—and loses an entire day in the process.

Agreeing to help Gina Wolfe search for her missing husband—a policeman who vanished years earlier under a very dark cloud—"Fat Andy" doesn't realize that events set in motion decades ago will come to a violent head on this otherwise ordinary summer's day. Caught up in an intricate composition played up-tempo by a vicious gangster and his politician son; a tabloid journalist chasing the deadliest story of his career; and a desperate wife/widow/fiancée unaware of the target on her forehead, Dalziel has only twenty-four hours to pursue this twisting piece to its shocking, discordant conclusion—hoping that justice will not be among the ultimate victims.

(Source: Harper)

Minotaur Books

A Dead Man's Tale (Charlie Moon Mysteries) by James D. Doss (Minotaur Books 09 November 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Charlie Moon, Ute rancher and investigator, isn't afraid to throw the dice even when a man's life is at stake, but when that man is betting against himself and Moon's ability to save him, that makes for some awfully high stakes.

Hard times have come to Colorado, and Moon's ranch is feeling the pinch. Investor Samuel Reed has never had that problem. He seems to have a special intuition when it comes to picking stocks and claims to be able to remember the future, which gives him quite a leg up on Wall Street. So it's no surprise that Reed is confident when he makes a wager with Moon's best friend, Granite City Chief of Police Scott Parish, that Parish can't keep him alive.

Even when Reed doesn't give them any details beyond the date and time of his impending demise, that's more than enough information for Moon who wants in on the action and is just as confident that he's well on the way to saving his ranch. But Moon's best plans go awry when instead of one homicide on his hands, he ends up with two. (see review)

A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries) by Charles Finch (Minotaur Books 09 November 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Returning from a continental honeymoon with his lifelong friend and new wife, Lady Jane Grey, Charles Lenox is asked by a colleague in Parliament to consult in the murder of a footman, bludgeoned to death with a brick. His investigation uncovers both unsettling facts about the family he served and a strange, second identity that the footman himself cultivated.

Going into the boxing clubs and public houses, the Mayfair mansions and servants' quarter of Victorian London, Lenox gradually realizes that an old friend may be implicated in the footman's death. Soon a suspect is arrested, but Lenox has his doubts. Desperately trying to balance the opening of Parliament and what he feels sure is a dark secret, he soon discovers that the killer is someone shockingly innocuous—who may be prepared to spill blood again, even a detective's. (see review)

Outwitting Trolls: A Brady Coyne Novel by William G. Tapply (Minotaur Books 09 November 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Brady Coyne is a Boston attorney who focuses on a few private clients and the legal drudgery of their everyday life, which leads to a generally unexciting life. Brady, however, gets a call from an old friend and former neighbor—a man from his past as a happily married man. When Brady was married and living in suburbia, Ken Nichols was his happily married neighbor. Both marriages fell apart years ago and Brady moved to Boston while Ken Nichols moved to Baltimore. Now a decade later and in Boston for a conference, Ken contacts Brady for a get-together and a drink. It's an uneventful evening but the next day Brady gets a call from Nichols' ex-wife. She's standing in her ex's hotel room, Nichols is lying dead on the floor of his room and she needs Brady's help.

But this savage murder is only the first and Brady is soon trying to find the connection between these long ago friends and the savage murders dogging their family. (Source: Minotaur Books)

The Insane Train (Hook Runyon Mysteries) by Sheldon Russell (Minotaur Books 09 November 2010 / $25.99) - Product Description:

After a devastating fire at an insane asylum in California, Hook Runyon has been put in charge of security for a train that is to transport the survivors to a new destination. Hook hires a motley crew of World War II veterans to help, but things soon go awry…
(Source: Minotaur Books)

The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby (Minotaur Books 09 November 2010 / $24.99) - Product Description: Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It's a job not made any easier by the depressingly increasing number of dead witnesses.

But murder and mayhem don't bother Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating twelve year-old brother Socrates. (see review)

NAL

A Holiday Yarn: A Seaside Knitters Mystery by Sally Goldenbaum (NAL 02 November 2010 / $23.95) - Product Description: With the Seaside Knitters' help, Mary Pisano converts her charming inherited home into a B&B. Her first week is booked by her very own family, in town to discuss their grandfather's will. She's hoping the tranquility of the setting will smooth over ill feelings among family members. But when her cousin Pam--a Sea Harbor, Massachusetts, native--is found murdered, she realizes she was dead wrong...

With the holiday cheer severely disrupted, Mary relies on the Seaside Knitters to set things right. They gladly offer their skill for unraveling crime, but it'll take all their crafty know-how to unravel this deadly tangle. (see review)

The Pumpkin Muffin Murder: A Fresh-Baked Mystery by Livia J. Washburn (NAL 02 November 2010 / $14.00) - Product Description: Phyllis loves to spend quality time with her grandson. She'll be taking him to a festival with hopes of winning the baking contest-now that her friendly competitor, Carolyn, is judging and not competing. But when a decorative scarecrow is actually a dead body in disguise, it's Phyllis's sleuthing skills that are needed.

The dead body is that of the festival's organizer- and his wife, Carolyn's friend, falls under suspicion. Carolyn turns to Phyllis for help, because who's better at dishing out some justice than a baker extraordinaire who can handle the heat... (Source: NAL)

Oceanview Publishing

Kind of Blue by Miles Corwin (Oceanview Publishing 01 November 2010 / $25.95) - Product Description: When a legendary ex-cop is murdered in L.A, the pressure's on to find the killer. Lt. Frank Duff needs his best detective on the case, but his best detective, Ash Levine, quit a year ago. A tenacious, obsessive detective, Ash resigned after Latisha Patton, the witness in a homicide case he was working, was murdered. Without his job, Ash is left unanchored -- and consumed with guilt that he somehow caused Latisha's murder. When he's asked to rejoin the force, Ash reluctantly agrees. Getting his badge back could give him the chance to find Latisha's killer. Ash dives headfirst into the shadowlands of Southern California to investigate the ex-cop's murder. But even when he has a suspect in custody, something about this case doesn't sit right with Ash, and he continues working the increasingly dangerous investigation while quietly chasing leads in Latisha's murder. Unable to let either case go, Ash finds that his obsessive nature might prove fatal. (see review)

Putnam

Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam 02 November 2010 / $26.95) - Product Description: First it was a limo driver shot through the neck with a crossbow. Then it was a high-priced escort found stabbed through the heart with a bayonet. Random hits, thrill kills, murderers with a taste for the finer things in life--and death--are making NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas angry. And an angry Eve can be just as an efficient and dangerous predator as the killer.

As time runs out on another innocent victim's life, Eve's investigation will take her into the rarefied circle that her husband, Roarke, travels in-and into the perverted heart of madness... (see review)

Signet

An Uplifting Murder: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper by Elaine Viets (Signet 02 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: On Josie's latest assignment, her former teacher-now working in a lingerie shop-is in need of some serious support when a customer is found murdered. Unfortunately, the teacher's alibi is flimsier than the camisoles she sells, so Josie will need to bust out her sleuthing skills to expose the real killer... (see review)

The Lies That Bind (Bibliophile) by Kate Carlisle (Signet 02 November 2010 / $7.99) - Product Description: Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright returns home to San Francisco to teach a bookbinding class. Unfortunately, the program director Layla Fontaine is a horrendous host who pitches fits and lords over her subordinates. But when Layla is found shot dead, Brooklyn is bound and determined to investigate-even as the killer tries to close the book on her for good. (see review)

Soho Constable

A Dead Man in Malta: A Sandor Seymour Mystery by Michael Pearce (Soho Constable 01 November 2010 / $25.00) - Product Description: Malta, 1913. Is there a link between a hot air balloon crash and a string of sinister deaths? Seymour of the Foreign Office is sent from London to find out.

Michael Pearce was raised in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and lives in southwest London. He is best known as the author of the award-winning Mamur Zapt books.

(Source: Soho Constable)

Soho Crime

Dying Gasp: A Chief Inspector Mario Silva Investigation by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime 16 November 2010 / $14.00) - Product Description: The granddaughter of a prominent Brazilian politician is missing -- held captive in a bordello where no one believes she's anyone of consequence. Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team follow their leads to Manaus, a jungle hellhole on the Amazon where a female doctor is making snuff films. Silva must overcome corruption, dirty cops, and obstacles set in his path by his own department of the Brazilian Federal Police to obtain a semblance of justice. (Source: Soho Crime)

G.I. Bones: A Sergeants Sueno & Bascom Mystery by Martin Limon (Soho Crime 01 November 2010 / $14.00) - Product Description:

"The latest in the series, G.I. Bones, is brilliant—imbued with affecting characters, a morally knotty storyline, and a last chapter that just plain stuns."—Maureen Corrigan, NPR.org, Best Crime Fiction of 2009

Sueño and Bascom of Military Intelligence must go back to the founding of Itaewon, Seoul's red-light district, to solve the mystery of a dead soldier, a missing girl, and several murdered Korean gangsters.

Martin Limón is the author of Jade Lady Burning, Slicky Boys, Buddha's Money, The Door to Bitterness, and The Wandering Ghost, all available from Soho Crime. He lives near Seattle.

(see review)

Red Jade: A Detective Jack Yu Investigation by Henry Chang (Soho Crime 01 November 2010 / $25.00) - Product Description: Two bodies are discovered at an address on the Bloody Angle, Chinatown's historic Tong battleground. NYPD Detective Jack Yu's investigation takes him across the country to another Chinatown, this one in Seattle, in pursuit of a cold-blooded Chinese American gangster and a mysterious Hong Kong femme fatale. (Source: Soho Crime)

Thomas Dunne Books

The Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario Reading (Thomas Dunne Books 23 November 2010 / $25.99) - Product Description: For reader's of Raymond Khoury's The Last Templar, or the works of Dan Brown, this high-octane commercial thriller tells of a hunt for the lost prophecies of Nostradamus and the two men who will do anything to discover their secrets. Nostradamus wrote a thousand prophecies. Only 942 have survived. What happened to the missing quatrains? What secrets did they contain to make it necessary for them to remain hidden? And why did Nostradamus leave his daughter a sealed container in his will? These questions drive two men with very different desires. Adam Sabir is a writer desperate to revive his flagging career; Achor Bale is a member of an ancient secret society that has dedicated itself to the protection and support of the "Three Antichrists" foretold in Nostradamus's verses—Napoleon, Adolf Hitler, and the "one still to come"...The pair embark on a terrifying chase through the ancient Romany encampments of France in a quest to locate the missing verses. (Source: Thomas Dunne Books)

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